Hmmm so I am the Hungry Reader. The one who reads. The one who is constantly reading or wanting to read constantly. This blog is all about the books I have read, the ones that I am reading and gems that I plan to read in the future or whenever it arrives.
Day 129: 17th of April 2014: For Esmé – with Love and Squalor by J.D. Salinger
Day 130: 18th of April 2014: Brownies by Z.Z. Packer
Day 131: 19th of April 2014: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Day 132: 20th of April 2014: White Angel by Michael Cunningham
Day 133: 21st of April 2014: Emergency by Denis Johnson
Day 134: 22nd of April 2014: Cathedral by Raymond Carver
Day 135: 23rd of April 2014: Dance in America by Lorrie Moore
Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
I think some books just remain, no matter when you read them. It doesn’t matter. They are beyond time perhaps. For me, The Catcher in the Rye is one such book. I have heard a lot of people say a lot of things, about it, however to me it still remains special. Why, you ask? Maybe because I read it at sixteen. Maybe because I read it when I was away from my family – the plot had some perspective I think. I didn’t want to be Holden, but certainly thoughts drifted in the manner he thought. J.D. Salinger knew what he was doing I think while writing this novel. What he didn’t know was the reaction or strings of actions would be created by this book.
Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon and had The Catcher in the Rye in his hand. John Hinckley Jr. attempted an assassination on Ronald Reagan in 1981 and one of the books owned by him was the one written by Salinger. There are several movie and television references to the novel as well. What is it about this book that evokes such reactions? Why? To my sixteen-year old mind, unwell and in bed, it was just another novel lent to me by my uncle and I had to read it. I read it. I loved it and that was it.
The Catcher in the Rye is not just another novel then. It is the voice of several generations of teenagers in the sense of the world. It is the world of angst and no sense of direction. Or maybe it is the voice of intellectualizing everything or trivializing it all. Holden Caulfield is more than an icon. He is someone who is trying to make sense of his life and life around him. It might appear to be as simple as this, when it is not or may be it is. He encounters people – different people as he takes off from his fancy school Pencey Prep and takes on his journey in New York City. This is where it all begins or almost.
The book was banned in most schools in the US of A. It is because of its vulgar language, which honestly I did not have a problem with then or now. To me the writing is just surreal, even after rereading it after fourteen years. It just manages to evoke the same sentiments in me and that is why I call it timeless. It talks about adolescence and its struggle like no other book. The Catcher in the Rye in that sense of the word is truly a classic and will be for years to come. I am glad I reread it. Thanks to my The Novel Cure Reading Challenge. It is guaranteed to cure angst of adolescence.
Next Up in the Challenge: Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore
So I was sixteen when I first read, “The Catcher in the Rye” and that’s the age group my generation was in (which accounts for a million readers) when we first laid our hands, sight, senses, and gave them all while reading this marvel. Holden Caulfield remained etched in our memory and while I came of age I read this book, and today J.D. Salinger is no more. This one’s for you, Mr. Salinger. You will be missed.
Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.
What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.